94% of consumers favour an increase in the use of generic medicines to reduce costs, pharmacists are three times more likely to recommend generic medicines than doctors, while one-third of medical card holders are not using generic medicines.
These were among the findings published today in a Behaviour and Attitudes survey of Irish consumers, commissioned by Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland, a leading global pharmaceutical company which employs 500 people in Ireland.
Findings in the “Teva Cost of Medicines Index 2012”, measured attitudes on the cost of medicines, the use of generic alternatives and Government efforts to achieve savings. The survey also compared findings to a similar survey conducted in 2009.
Key findings include:
- 69% of adults in Leinster are using generic medicines, compared with 67% of adults nationally, the latter figure represents an increase of 35% on 2009 findings;
- 22% increase in public awareness of generic medicines amongst consumers in three years, with 72% of adults aware of the differences between generic and branded medicines;
- 84% of adults in Leinster believe that the cost of medicines is currently too high, with a majority (54%) of those surveyed nationally citing cost as the dominant reason for switching to generics;
- 94% believe the State should increase its usage of generic medicines to reduce overall costs;
- 91% believe generics are as safe and effective of the more expensive branded alternatives;
- Pharmacists are three times more likely to recommend generic medicines than doctors;
- One third of medical card holders are not using generic medicines, despite the fact that half the population now hold a medical card;
- Only 41% of those surveyed have discussed their prescription options with either their pharmacist or doctor;
- 96% of public would accept generic medicine if offered by doctor or pharmacist, while 95% would support Government measures to reduce the cost of medicines;
- Almost all surveyed support measures to reduce medicines prices, but only a third were aware of any Government initiatives to do so;
- Older people (65 years or older) and non-medical card holders are more likely to use generic medicines than younger people (under 34 years) and medical card holders;
- Younger adults (under 34 years) and medical card holders are less “cost conscious” when it comes to the price of medicines;
- 68% of public unaware of Government measures to reduce cost of medicines.
Commenting on the findings, Ms Sandra Gannon, General Manager, Teva Ireland said:
“What stands out more than anything else from this survey is that consumers are increasingly aware of generic medicines, are confident of the safety and enhanced affordability offered by generics, and want a wider availability of generic alternatives.
“This survey also makes it clear that Government, the industry and medical professionals must do more to meet this demand, not least to improve the affordability of medicines for hard-pressed consumers.
“Implementation of legislation giving more powers to pharmacists can accelerate this trend further.
“The Government published legislation in July of this year to introduce generic substitution and medicines reference pricing, however this legislation has yet to be enacted. This legislation must now be prioritised to deliver a sustainable medicine pricing system, particularly given the overruns in our healthcare budget,” concluded Gannon.